The GAL program is a State- and County-funded volunteer-based organization that trains lay persons to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children. It exists throughout the nation and all 67 Florida counties.
Volunteers work as a part of a team. They are assigned to a human service supervisor and attorney. They gather information needed to make sound, commonsense recommendations to the court. Although the child’s safety is priority one, volunteers must consider the importance of familial connections, friendships and the child’s wishes and desires.
Independent research has shown that children with a GAL volunteer are substantially less likely to spend time in long-term foster care and re-enter care. Children, who have exited the dependency system, often say that were it not for their GAL, they don’t know how they would have made it through such a traumatic experience.
At present, more than 2,100 children are part of the Dependency Court System in the 5th Circuit which includes Marion, Lake, Hernando, Citrus and Sumter counties. Regrettably, due to the lack of volunteers, not all of these children receive our services.
Contact Diana Gisonni at (352) 812-6971 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in making this cause your cause by becoming a Guardian ad Litem volunteer.
Visit www.guardianadlitem.org to learn more about the Guardian ad Litem Program.